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  • the incomprable Cerruty (split)

    Speaking of Elliott and Cerutty, can anyone confirm for certain (no guesses, please) how Cerutty pronounced his name?

    I've heard three variations: SARE-uh-tee, seh-ROOT-ee, seh-RUT-ee.

    I've always presumed the last, but I've not heard it said by anyone who would know from personal contact. I even met Elliott, but in such a brief amount of time this was hardly important enough to waste time with.

  • #2
    Re: Favourite Mile/!500m runner ?

    I remember reading somewhere that Percy's name should be pronounced as in "sincerity".

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    • #3
      Re: Favourite Mile/!500m runner ?

      I believe that is the correct pronunciation. I met him over thirty years ago (probably closer to forty years) and that's the way I remember the pronunciation.

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      • #4
        Re: Favourite Mile/!500m runner ?

        Originally posted by FrankS
        I remember reading somewhere that Percy's name should be pronounced as in "sincerity".

        Yes.

        Somewhere in his book "Why Die? The extraordinary Percy Cerutty, maker of champions", author Graem Sims mentions that Cerutty, with his usual bombast regarding all things healthy and pure, used to joke to people trying to pronounce his name that "It's 'sincerity--without the sin.'"

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        • #5
          Re: Favourite Mile/!500m runner ?

          The Nelson Bros. (who met w/ Percy on more than one occasion) assured me, lo these many years ago, that it was indeed "serrity."

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          • #6
            Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

            Two anecdotes I must share (with emphasis on the fact that they're just that, anecdotal, and the quotes ).

            1. (from Bert to me):

            Some time in the late '50s, Cerrutty (I assume w/ Elliott in tow) was in NorCal, visited the T&FN offices and founder Bert Nelson invited him over for dinner. Bert's wife was, self admittedly, not the world's greatest cook, but she went over the top prepping the one thing she did well, which was the old family pork chop recipe. They sat for dinner, Percy took one bite, and and declared, "Madam, this is fit neither for man nor beast!"

            2. (from Kerry Pearce, who without looking it up was the collegiate recordholder in the indoor 2M for UTEP at one point?) to me in the hospitality room at the Jack Tarr Hotel in San Francisco in early '71):

            So Percy is the guest on an Aussie TV show and the moderator, a big buff dude, asks Percy what it is that makes his athletes so tough, and Percy says, "I train all my guys to be killers. They have to be able to kill a man! I train them in my image."

            Big buff dude pumps himself up and said, "So, little man, you ready to take me on?"

            Cerruty looks abashed, and turns away. Host turns and gloats to the camera.

            Percy leaps on him from behind, choking the bloke to death, and yells, "It's by cunning I'll get ya, ya bastard!"

            FWIW

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            • #7
              Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

              Originally posted by gh
              ...

              Percy leaps on him from behind, choking the bloke to death, and yells, "It's by cunning I'll get ya, ya bastard!"
              I'm pretty confident that there is hyperbole... as far as I know Percy was never charged with murder (and if it was on TV you'd expect a witness or two, even in a sparsely populated country such as this)... 8-)

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              • #8
                Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                OK, my hyperbolic writing was a bit over the top.

                When I said "choking to death" never meant it to be anything more than an over-the top representation. He certainly never actually put the guy in danger; just got exceedingly physical.

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                • #9
                  Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                  Originally posted by gh
                  OK, my hyperbolic writing was a bit over the top.

                  When I said "choking to death" never meant it to be anything more than an over-the top representation. He certainly never actually put the guy in danger; just got exceedingly physical.
                  Probably not hyperbolic but possibly factually incorrect. While Percy did threaten fights on a regular basis, including on TV, I could only find a non-TV reference to a choking attack.

                  In the biography, Why Die?, Graem Sims follows on from the ironic observation,
                  "Percy might have aspired to become an international agitator for peace, but he would retain his short fuse"
                  with the following stories:

                  1. When drinking at the Portsea hotel with some Papua New Guinea trainee army officer, a drunk asked him,
                  " What are you talking to those black bastards for, Perce?"........ "Percy picked up a chair and broke it over the drunk's head. The man collapsed to the floor in a moaning heap."
                  2. At a party, Percy threatened to murder a footballer after he was mocked for his diminutive size "Yeah? How will you do it?" Percy then threw a punch but missed and had his arm twisted until he gave up.
                  "But a minute or so later, he leapt on to the oaf's back, seizing him around the throat in a choke hold, fingers buried deep into the larynx. This is how I'd do it!" he roared as the youth flailed away under him. "This is how I'd do it!" It took several men to loosen Percy's grip and separate them."
                  Still, I'm sure the Cerutty legend will stand a larger number of stories, real or not :lol:

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                  • #10
                    Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                    Originally posted by gh
                    2. (from Kerry Pearce, who without looking it up was the collegiate recordholder in the indoor 2M for UTEP at one point?)
                    Better still, Pearce's 8:27.2 in '68 was the world record. Tied the next year by George Young.

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                    • #11
                      Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                      I remember when I met Cerruty, he refused to shake hands. He said that was a sign of weakness. I just thought he was rude.

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                      • #12
                        Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                        Originally posted by dj
                        I've heard three variations: SARE-uh-tee, seh-ROOT-ee, seh-RUT-ee.
                        Per Elliott on the great 1984 video, The Super MIlers, it's SARE-uh-tee. Convinced me!!
                        After reading his book Why Die, I lost all respect for Perc. He was not a great coach just a great promoter who had to have all the focus on him all of the time. IMHO only that is!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                          Actually he was a very innovative coach. Like Lydiard he took athletes away from just running on the track to natural terrain. He also emphasized strength and power. Way ahead of his time he encouraged athletes to eat natural foods. No question about it he was a promoter, but I can't fault him for that.

                          At a running camp that I attended in the mid 1980s Arthur Lydiard related a funny story about Cerutty. One of Lydiards runners told him that he was going to Australia to train with Cerutty. Lydiard agreed that sometimes change is necessary and didn't criticize the runner for leaving. A number of months the runner returned to Lydiard's fold. Lydiard asked him if he was going to go back to Cerutty. The runner replied that he didn't believe that Cerutty would welcome him back. Lydiard asked if it had to do with Cerutty's training methods. The runner said, "That wasn't it. You see he caught me -------ing his wife.!"

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                          • #14
                            Re: the incomprable Cerruty (split)

                            A few Percy Cerutty reports and quotes (from newspaper archives):

                            APR 1946 - 51 year old Cerutty ran stripped to the waist from Stawell to Hall's Gap in the Grampians, on Sunday. He averaged 10 miles an hour, to cover the 17 1/2 miles in 1 hr 48 min. He lunched on raisins, drank some lemonade with salt in it, walked a few miles round the Grampians (mountain range), and then ran back the 17 1/2 miles to Stawell.

                            DEC 1946 - Just for exercise, 52 year old Cerutty raises a block of blue metal a hundred times over his head. He recently ran 60 miles from Portsea to Melbourne in 8 1/2 hours, finishing with a lap sprint.

                            JUL 1952 - Athletics manager Keith Donald was in the dark about the decision by John Landy and his coach Percy Cerrutty to run a heat of the 5000m as a training gallop for the 1500m two days later. With masterful tact, Donald said after a "discussion" with Cerrutty that lasted more than an hour Landy would start in the 5000.

                            OCT 1952 - "I will never again offer my services (as Australian Team Coach) for an honorarium. If they want me for Australian athletics it will cost them between 500 and 1000 pounds. If I can't get that amount, I will start work as an honest labourer at a lot less."

                            DEC 1952 - On arriving home from his Olympic Games trip, Cerrutty booked into a Melbourne hotel. But he had a whim to spend his first night back on Australian soil under the stars in the Domain, where he had run many hundreds of miles in training. The spot, he believes, is unequalled anywhere as a place of beauty.

                            He was awakened at 1am by a policeman who assumed he was a dead-beat without money for a bed. The law was incredulous when Cerrutty told why he was sleeping in the open. Luckily Cerrutty had a few pounds in his wallet, which probably saved him from a vagrancy charge.

                            Being told he was too close to the gates of Government House (ironically, his charge John Landy would reside as Governor there fifty years later), Cerrutty slept out the night in a spot further away and went for a run around the Tan at 7am.

                            AUG 1954 - "This (Jim) Peters chap should be old enough to know better - talk about mad dogs and Englishmen!"

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